tv NBC Nightly News NBC April 23, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
customer. i dealt with him the same as i would anybody else who comes off the street. >> reporter: several online instructions including the one in "inspire" recommend using the contents of fireworks as a bomb component. 5,000 miles away fbi agents were in the russian province of dagestan today to interview the parents of the bombing suspects. their mother insists her sons could not be terrorists. >> what happened is a terrible thing, but i know that my kids have nothing to do with this. i know it. i'm mother. i have -- you know, i know my kids. i know my kids. really my kids would never get involved into anything like that. >> reporter: in massachusetts, police are working to trace whatever weapons were used in thursday night's shoot-out and in the killing of one policeman and the wounding of another. remarkably, despite all the gunfire when police encountered the men in watertown, several law enforcement officials say the brothers appear to have had only a single semiautomatic
handgun, now being analyzed by massachusetts police. state authorities say they'll file charges of their own later this week for the killing of sean collier, the m.i.t. campus policeman that authorities say the tsarnaev brothers shot thursday night. members of congress say they want answers about whether the intelligence community should have done more to follow up on the older brother, tamerlan, after the russians complained two years ago that he appeared to be growing more radicalized. >> what about his electronic footprint, the suspect's cell phone they were trying to use to track him, the laptop they were anxious to look for inside his apartment? >> reporter: right. they have all that. they do have his cell phone we were told today. and they're looking through all of that for evidence that others may have been working with them. but they say every day they look into this, they become more convinced or leaning more toward a conclusion that the two acted alone, brian. >> pete williams, thanks. pete in our washington bureau tonight. up in boston the copley square area slowly getting back
to business after really being frozen in place as a crime scene eight days ago. some of the folks in the area were today preparing to reopen the stretch of that great city that will sadly forever be known as something of a crime scene. anne thompson is in boston for us tonight. >> reporter: cautiously store owners and residents made an emotional return to boylston street. >> i think it's important for everybody to get back to however we define normal nowadays. >> i'm actually looking forward to going back. >> reporter: there was no damage at laura's bagel shop but a lot of cleaning to do. >> we will have lost sales, but frankly, so what? at the end of the day, it's so minimal compared to the impact that so many people felt. >> reporter: today there was a private funeral for 8-year-old martin richard, the youngest victim. in a statement his family said, we laid our son martin to rest, and he is now at peace. police officers escorted the casket of sean collier, the m.i.t. officer shot and killed
last week allegedly by the bombing suspects. savannah guthrie spoke to his five siblings on the "today" show. >> ever since a very young age, this is what he's wanted to do, and he did it. he worked his tail off, and he really has made us all very proud of him. >> reporter: boston university remembered chinese graduate student lu lingzi last night. a cousin translated her father's words. >> last night, your home town lit you an everlasting candle, lighting up your path to heaven, so that you won't lose your way any more. there will be no bombs or terrorist attacks in its path. ♪ sweet caroline >> reporter: through individual donations and events like this race in west hartford, connecticut, the one fund boston is raising money for those most affected by the bombing. >> i'm honored to support. >> reporter: the total $20 million and growing.
the proceeds to be distributed by ken feinberg who oversaw victims funds for 9/11 and the bp oil spill. >> the number one goal here is to get this money out the door as emergency funding to claimants in desperate shape. >> reporter: the victims and victims' families will have one month to apply for moneys from that fund starting on may 15th. feinberg hopes to cut checks on june 30th and have money in everyone's hands by the fourth of july. brian? >> anne thompson up in boston tonight. anne, thank you. when we last reported on this next story last night, a former elvis impersonator had been arrested for sending letters laced with ricin to a u.s. senator and to president obama. this already strange story changed again today. nbc's andrea mitchell tracking it from our washington bureau again tonight. andrea, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. there are a lot of questions
about that ricin investigation. tonight in mississippi, a federal magistrate released paul kevin curtis. tonight prosecutors dropped all charges against him in connection with those letters containing ricin that went to president obama and mississippi senator roger wicker last week. curtis, an occasional elvis impersonator, had been arrested on charges of sending those letters, but investigators say the fbi found no evidence of ricin when they searched his home. he's been in jail since last week. today the fbi also searched a second mississippi location. the tupelo home of an man named j. everett duchky. he's an acquaintance and sometime adversary of curtis. he also says he's innocent. another incident, the defense intelligence agencies say alarms went off today at a mail facility at bolling air base here in washington indicating the possible presence of dangerous toxins. further tests found no specific package related to those alarms, so they're taking more samples. bottom line, the fbi clearly got
the wrong man in the first case and whoever is sending these letters may still be out there. >> andrea mitchell with an update on that, thanks. a package of budget cuts that was given the clunky name the sequester. it's as good an example as any of our broken government. the whole idea of an approaching package of forced budget cutbacks was to pressure action well in advance. that didn't happen, so now the cutbacks are being assigned and enforced, not across the board, but selectively. and now they affect air traffic control, and they've slowed down air travel, which you already know if you know anyone who flies. tom costello has this story for us tonight. he's at national airport in washington. tom, good evening. >> reporter: hi, brian. in fact, the airlines, the pilots, are telling the customers the delays are not their fault. republicans on capitol hill blaming the white house for needlessly creating the situation. and now the white house is saying that congress has got to deal with the sequester. day three of the sequester's impact on the nation's air
traffic and delays are becoming the norm on many routes. hundreds of takeoffs and landings delayed. nearly every city affected. 30 to 45-minute delays in dallas and los angeles. ground stops at washington national and dulles. and a ripple effect across the country. kim zolar flying from dallas to laguardia for an important meeting was more than 90 minutes late. >> we were supposed to leave at 8:25, and just as we're about to leave, they said, sorry, we're not leaving. we've been sequestered. >> reporter: jonathan rogers sat on the ramp for two hours. >> new york city is right there. you want to reach out and grab it. >> reporter: in all, more than 1,200 delays yesterday blamed on the shortage of controllers, another 1,400 delayed by weather and other issues. a job that literally keeps the nation's economy and its people moving caught in a budget stalemate. of the roughly 15,000 air traffic controllers, 10% are off the job each day. 1,500 not at their stations.
>> i don't think that it's fair that air traffic control, particularly air traffic controllers, are being used as a pawn. >> reporter: there's no shortage of people who are angry about it, but so far congress hasn't acted to fix the problem. the man whose job it is to keep the nation's skies safe says it's an outrage. >> sequester is a bad idea, a dumb idea. it's not a way that any person would do their own budget. it's a meat ax approach, and it should be changed. it can be changed. >> reporter: in denver today, proof that the delays can worsen with volatile springtime weather. while the faa says fewer controllers means it must increase spacing between planes to maintain safety, critics say the faa could find other ways to save money, but on the ground, the delays are growing. >> i can't imagine being stuck here for three hours and not knowing what's going to be next. >> reporter: yeah, there is talk in congress about actually passing legislation to force the controllers back to work. meanwhile, there is universal praise for the tsa's decision to delay allowing knives back on to
planes. you may recall the tsa chief received virtual unanimous protest about that decision. now they'll delay that decision, re-evaluate and listen to the airlines and their employees. >> so no knives, but delays. a mixed bag from the airport tonight. tom costello reporting on all of it. tom, thanks. another veteran of the senate is leaving. six-term montana democrat max baucus retiring at the end of his term. baucus is 71. he was among the handful of democrats who just voted against those expanded background checks for gun purchases. he runs the finance committee, had a huge influence on taxation, health care reform. this makes now six incumbent democratic senators not running for re-election. tonight at the white house, the president will host the women of the u.s. senate. all 20 female members of the senate have been invited to a private dinner. by political party the breakdown is 16 democrats, 4 republicans, and it's the latest in the president's dinner campaign with various lawmakers in d.c.
we have an update tonight on the midwest flooding that's been hammering several states during the past week. the illinois river among the hardest hit right now expected to crest overnight tonight. it's already left parts of peoria completely cut off from the rest of the city. the army corps is keeping a close eye on the main levee there which, as of tonight, is holding up well. still ahead for us on a tuesday evening, the big fake hacking scare today about an explosion at the white house. not true, but it was enough to trigger a sharp drop in the stock market. later, hundreds of very good dogs homeward bound thanks to some dedicated volunteers.
reported by the associated press on their twitter feed. it was about an attack on the white house, injuries to the president. it was false. it was enough to scare people and move the stock market. it was a hack, the latest in a series of high profile hacks that have companies scrambling and people wondering sometimes what's real. our senior investigative correspondent lisa myers is with us with more on this from washington. lisa, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. with the country already on edge and social media having gone mainstream, all it took was 71 characters to send the stock market into free fall. it all began about 1:07 this afternoon with this tweet from the associated press. "breaking: two explosions in the white house and barack obama is injured." the message went to ap's 1.9 million twitter followers and spread like a virus. retweeted almost 5,000 times within a minute.
but it was a fake. ap's account had been hacked. >> it partly explains the unusual activity in the dow. >> reporter: the dow began plunging and within three minutes dropped more than 140 points. >> you looked around the floor. you saw people running, people upset, not sure what was going on. just watching this market trade lower. >> reporter: automatic trading programs kicked in. >> human beings weren't making these trades. these were computers, algorithms designed to scan the headlines and find negative or positive words and then help companies profit on the results. >> reporter: minutes after that first message ap's corporate account tweeted it was bogus and suspended the ap's twitter page. the president's spokesman reassured the public. >> i can say that the president is fine. i was just with him. >> reporter: the syrian electronic army took credit for the hacking as well as for hacking into cbs' "60 minutes" twitter account over the weekend. the nbc news twitter account was hacked two years ago days before
the anniversary of 9/11. and a false tweet was put out about an attack and hijacking. today the stock market recovered but with a new sense of just how vulnerable and jittery we are. >> to have that kind of impact from a 140-character tweet that actually unnerves the entire global system beginning with the stock market, that's actually quite significant. >> reporter: an s.e.c. official says the stock exchanges will know who profited and who lost from today's gyrations. the secret service says it's aware of the incident and will monitor it and follow up appropriately. >> lisa myers, unbelievable turn of events today. lisa, thanks. we're back with the handshake mistake that caused something of an international incident.
forgiven for thinking it was part of a pyrotechnics show. there it was. until they realized it was not. in the distance starting out as a bright streak before lighting up the sky, a brilliant meteor exploding over the earth. astronomers are guessing it was about a foot and a half wide traveling 81,000 miles an hour. a lot of this kind of thing going on lately. it was a simple gesture or lack of it by bill gates, but it has caused him a world of hurt halfway around the world. he was greeting the president of south korea when he inexplicably left his left hand in his pocket. it was immediately labeled rude and disrespectful in south korean media. many pointed out that a buttoned jacket and a two-handed handshake would have been the proper greeting for the south korean president. amid the ongoing campaign against texting and e-mailing while driving comes this new research from texas a&m that says, even if you're using
hands-free voice-activated texting, your reaction time behind the wheel is still twice as slow as just driving. your eyes are still likely to come off the road because you're concentrating. you're involved in the task. the bottom line -- voice command texting does not increase driver's safety compared to manual texting. according to this study both should be avoided while driving. we have a new teacher of the year. at a white house event today the president honored jeff charbonneau, a high school teacher from washington state. the president spoke as well today about the astounding bravery specifically of the teachers at sandy hook elementary and the dedication our teachers show on the job every day. when we come back, the amazing long-distance effort from some folks who happened to be heading in the right direction.
we leave you tonight with some good news for a whole lot of people and the pets who love them. a successful effort to find permanent loving homes for dogs in need of people no matter how many miles you have to travel to get from here to there. the story tonight from nbc's mark potter. >> reporter: amid the rugged
beauty of tok, alaska, an important long distance delivery is about to be made as an anxious family awaits. >> hi, guys. here's shelby. >> look at him. >> little puppy. >> he's cute. >> reporter: shelby's journey has taken nine days and covered more than 4,500 miles thanks to a kind-hearted trucker named david benz and an animal rescue program known as operation roger. >> thank you very much. >> you guys are so welcome. >> awesome. >> really appreciate it. >> yeah, any time. >> reporter: operation roger was born from hurricane katrina, after trucker sue weiss began to pray for all the pets who'd lost their owners. >> i said, lord, what can i do? i'm just a truck driver. >> reporter: what she did was organize volunteer truckers to transport lost and abused animals to loving homes around the country. and named operation roger after one of her dogs. so far they've delivered nearly 700 pets. shelby, a 5-year-old pekingese was rescued from an abusive home
in oklahoma. when an alaska family offered to adopt him, operation roger called driver david benz who loves dogs and helping people. >> shelby, come on. it's a good way that truck drivers in america can give back to society because, you know, we're not home a lot. >> reporter: the journey began with benz picking up shelby in enid, oklahoma. then heading to houston to load cargo bound for alaska. a long drive later, they met shelby's new family. >> driving the dogs around the states and dropping them off at loving homes is perfect. >> reporter: and well worth the cross-country effort. >> say cheese! >> reporter: to bring shelby home. mark potter, nbc news. that is our broadcast on a tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.
her parents are in contact with politicians about new legislation. marianne favro has details. >> because the three suspects are minors, we don't know the conditions of their house arrest. can they use cell phones or go to school. they must all wear ankle bracelets. audrey pots are not -- they are fighting for new state laws. >> audrey pott took her own life less than two weeks after she was sexually assaulted last year. photos were shared electronically at her high school. now her parents are grappling with the news that the three 16-year-old boys accused are out of juvenile hall on house arrest. all three boys must wear monitoring devices on their ankles. director of golden state investigations say they must be worn 24/7. >> juvenile hall doesn't have
the ability to monitor it. it's expensive to have somebody watch those things. >> in response to the house arrest, the attorney representing her family issued this statement today saying. the family remains hopeful that the young men will be prosecuted as adults. we otherwise are concentrating our energy on implementing new legislation. had the family reached out to senator jim bell. audrey pott was unconscious when she was allegedly assaulted. bell would like to see changes in how that crime is prosecuted. >> somebody like audrey is treated differently because they're juveniles. that is something we should look at to protect victims. >> state senator jim bealle is considering introducing legislation to make changes to allow juvenile suspects to be tried as adults if photos of the attack are distributed in a public forum. a district attorney is still deciding whether to try the
three teenagers as adults. nbc bay area news. new tonight at 6:00, governor brown has a message for california crime victims. he really feels your pain. during a victim's rally at the state capitol today, the governor told the crowd that he's been the victim of not one but two burglary attempts. one involving his home in oakland a year ago and more recently another at his home in sacramento. >> a few days ago, a gentleman was found on my balcony trying to break in. luckily, i wasn't home. when i was away about a year ago, my wife is alone, three gentleman show up and about 1:00 trying to break in. so the chp, luckily, came to the scene and held them for 40 minutes and then they said they were looking for -- to buy real estate in the neighborhood. and the oakland police